As Canberra’s Michael Matthews prepares to reflect on this year’s Tour de France, the next generation of ACT cyclists are preparing to make an impact on the sport.
In their age groups they are already close to being the best in the world.
Last year, Max Lundy became the first Australian to win at any age category in the European Junior Tour in the Netherlands. According to those who have covered the six-day race, it’s about as serious as kids’ cycle racing gets anywhere in the world for competitors between the ages of five to 18 years.
It’s a tough course; technically challenging with tight corners and true cobblestones and pavers.
Max was competing in the under-nine category. He won two stages and needed to finish in the top eight on the final day. He came home in fifth position to secure the title, holding it together under extreme pressure.
Also racing in the under 13s was fellow Canberra cyclist, Oscar Chamberlain. Oscar finished second in the general classification, having won the white and green jerseys.
Oscar had the yellow leader’s jersey in 2017, but crashed and broke his arm.
Now as a 14-year-old, if nothing else, the experiences of the past two European campaigns have made him even more determined. His training load jumped to an average of 200 kilometres a week on the road.
Oscar also competes on the track. At last year’s track nationals, he medalled in every event.
Max as a ten-year-old averages around 100 kilometres on the road each week, in combination with track and Mountain Biking and rugby union with the Gungahlin Eagles. He started competing at the age of seven in both road and track. His trophy cabinet is practically overflowing, having won the Canberra Junior Tour, Goulburn Junior Tour, Sydney Junior Tour, the Illawarra Junior Tour and multiple track carnivals.
Max was recently beaten for the first time in a Junior Tour in Australia by Queensland’s Michael Rossiter. This has spurred him on to train even harder.
Max and Oscar are part of the next wave of young Canberrans in men’s cycling, with others to watch out for including Harry Jones and Sebastian Beitzel.
Inspired by the current generation of male road cyclists comprising Matthews, Rory Sutherland, Mathew Hayman and Nathan Haas, these up-and-coming cyclists are sure to be Tour de France contenders in the future.